905.285.0002

Leptospirosis Explained

What is Leptospirosis?

Leptospirosis is an infectious disease of dogs and other mammals that primarily affects the liver and kidneys. It is caused by the bacteria Leptospira.

Bacteria are passed in the urine of infected animals and can survive in the environment for long periods of time in moist soil or stagnant water. Wild animals including skunks, raccoons, opossums, rats, wolves, and deer, can all spread the infection.  Leptospirosis is very rare in cats and is not generally associated with disease.

What happens once a dog is infected?

Dogs become infected through contact with urine from an infected animal, in the soil or in water – Leptospira can penetrate the soft lining of the nose, mouth, and eyelids, and can also enter the body through sores or scratches on the skin.

Once a dog has come in contact with Leptospirosis, the incubation period (time from infection to onset of clinical signs) is usually 4 to 12 days. Infected dogs will show a variety of symptoms, including lethargy, depression, fever, loss of appetite, vomiting, increased thirst, and increased urination. Some may develop jaundice (yellowing of the gums and the whites of the eyes). Some dogs show only mild symptoms and will recover, but infection can be life threatening.

Clinical leptospirosis causes damage to the liver and/or the kidneys, and can be fatal.

Note: Leptospirosis can be transmitted to people  – owners of infected dogs should avoid contact with the dog’s urine, and wear gloves when cleaning any areas the dog has soiled.  The organism is readily killed by household disinfectants or a dilute bleach solution

How common is Leptospirosis?

Leptospirosis has been found in southern Ontario, and cases are increasing, with numerous cases in dogs in the GTA this year.

Can Leptospirosis be treated?

Treatment generally involves antibiotics and often hospitalization. Treatment can be effective if the disease is diagnosed early, but the prognosis is guarded for severely infected dogs. There are also potential long-term consequences of infection even if treatment is successful, such as chronic kidney disease.

Can Leptospirosis be prevented?

Yes – there is a vaccine available that protects against many (although not all) the strains of Leptospirosis. The vaccine is not considered a core vaccine, however at this time we are recommending the Leptospirosis vaccine to all our canine patients.

Additional Resources:
http://www.petdiseasereport.com/content/prevmap.aspx
https://www.wormsandgermsblog.com/?s=leptospirosis
https://www.cdc.gov/leptospirosis/index.html

Blog

Dog thinking about ticks and fleas

Year-round protection means more peace of mind!

“Tick season” used to mean spring/summer/fall, with a break over the winter – the colder weather meant that we could take a break from worrying about these pesky bugs and the diseases they can transmit. But in the last few years, we’ve seen a change creeping up on us, with the weather staying warm later into the season, and spring arriving earlier each year – and the bugs are loving it! You may have already heard us talking about how any day that the temperature is above the freezing point, ticks are potentially active. This past year, we had days above 0°C in all 12 months! Ticks aren’t killed by the cold, they simply go dormant, waiting until it’s warm enough to come back out – so last year, even January and February had days warm enough for ticks to be active! This means that we are now recommending that all dogs (and cats that go outdoors) take advantage of year-round flea and tick protection. There are several options, our first choice being an all-in-one that protects against fleas, ticks, and heartworm, as well as providing regular deworming against roundworms. One pill, once a month – what could be simpler? If your pet is already on a monthly preventative, all you need to do is pick up a refill and continue throughout the winter months. If your pet hasn’t yet started on comprehensive parasite prevention, we’re happy to answer any questions you may have and set you up with the best option for your pet. What does this mean for testing? The 4DX test that we recommend most commonly screens for heartworm disease, Lyme, Ehrlichia, and Anaplasma. Heartworm is transmitted by mosquitoes (so every dog in Ontario is potentially at risk – at Westbridge we treat a few cases every year!), and the others are all transmitted via tick bites. We have seen an increase in Lyme-positive dogs in the last few years, one of the reasons we are recommending some of these changes. For better early detection and the safety of your pet, we are recommending annual 4DX testing for all dogs. This simple blood test can be done at any time, although the optimal time is in the spring. Catching disease early is key to successful treatment – and no matter how careful you are with preventative medications, there is always some risk of infection. As always, our veterinarians and registered veterinary technicians are available to answer any questions you may have about the best options for your pet. Email us at info@westbridgevet.com, or call us at 905-285-0002

Read More
See All Articles

Last updated: December 17, 2020

Dear Clients,

With recent changes to restrictions on businesses, we are pleased to advise that effective May 19, 2020 some restrictions on veterinary practices have been lifted. Based on these changes, below are some important updates to our operating policies.

1. WE CAN NOW SEE ALL CASES BY APPOINTMENT ONLY

This includes vaccines, wellness exams, blood work, heartworm testing, spays and neuters, dental services, and more!

2. SAFETY MEASURES TO KEEP EVERYONE SAFE

3. OPERATING HOURS

We are OPEN with the following hours:

- Monday to Friday: 10:00 am - 6:00 pm
- Saturday: 8:00 am - 1:00 pm
- Sunday: CLOSED

4. NEW PET OWNERS

Have you welcomed a new furry family member to your home? We’d love to meet them! Visit our Must Know New Pet Owner Information page for useful resources and helpful recommendations for new pet owners.

Thank you for your patience and understanding and we look forward to seeing you and your furry family members again!

Your dedicated team at Westbridge Veterinary Hospital